Posts Tagged smartphones
Now you can pay for that latte with cash, credit card or mobile phone.
Starbucks (SBUX) , which tested mobile payments in select stores and Target outlets in the past year, expanded the program nationally to all its 6,800 company-owned stores starting Wednesday.
There are a handful of mobile payment experiments in operation now, including Bling Nation in Palo Alto, Calif., and Mocapay in Denver. But this is the biggest rollout to date for mobile payments, says Gwenn Bézard, analyst with the Aite Group, who follows mobile payments. Tech analysts expect substantial growth in mobile payments in coming years as more of us lead our daily lives on our phone.
“This is a more convenient way to pay,” says Starbucks Vice President Brady Brewer. “Your wallet or purse isn’t always with you, but the mobile phone is.” Customers pay using apps available on their iPhones or BlackBerrys. Download the app, and fund it with your credit card. When you reach the barista at the counter, hit the “pay” button, show the bar code, and scan it to complete the transaction. Starbucks says it’s working on an app for Android phones.
“Starbucks is using an interim technology that’s available today,” Bezard says. But he thinks the future of mobile payments will be based on a technology called near-field communications (NFC), which embeds a payment chip inside the phone.
NFC is popular in Asia, where many phones already have built-in chips, and retailers to support them. Juniper Research says $200 billion will be spent worldwide via mobile payments by 2012, up from $100 billion in 2010.Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile recently announced plans for a joint venture, Isis, to offer NFC purchasing via phones. Testing is scheduled to begin next year.
The success of its gift card sparked Starbucks’ interest in mobile payments. “Customers liked the speed of the card,” Brewer says. About one in five retail transactions are done with the card, and customers have loaded more than $1.5 billion onto them, Starbucks says.
Starbucks began testing mobile payments in 2009. To expand nationally, it had to retrofit older scanners with new ones that could accept the bar code from the apps. “We’re going to see big adoption,” Brewer says. He wouldn’t say how much the changeover cost the company.
If anyone has information at the estimated costs for starbucks to integrate this modality and upgrade their hardware and Scanners, please share. Thank You!
T-Mobile USA is going to push its smartphone prices down in a bid to attract more first-time smartphone users to postpaid plans, the company’s CEO said.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, T-Mobile CEO Philipp Humm said the carrier plans to sell a number of devices running on Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android platform that retail for $100 or less. “We are working with our vendors on this one to drive the price of smartphones down,” Humm said, adding that not all customers want an expensive, high-end device.
The push by T-Mobile, the nation’s No. 4 carrier, highlights the efforts that all operators have made recently to push smartphone prices down and change their pricing plans to attract more first-time smartphone buyers. Subsidies by carriers have helped bring the price of some Android phones to well below $100. T-Mobile itself offers several such deals, including for phones like the LG Optimus T and the Motorola Mobility (NYSE:MMI) Charm. Sprint (NYSE:S) just announced that it will launch the HTC Evo Shift Jan. 9 for $149.99 after a $100 mail-in rebate on a new, two-year contract. Additionally, flat-rate carriers are offering cheap Android phones even without a subsidy. MetroPCS (NASDAQ:PCS) offers the Huawei Ascend for $99.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate and Leap Wireless (NASDAQ:LEAP) offers the phone for $140.
Aside from handset pricing, carriers are also working to lower the cost of smartphone data plans. AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) rolled out tiered, usage-based data pricing last year, charging $15 for 200 MB and $25 for 2 GB of data. Both T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) have followed AT&T’s lead with similar data pricing options.
T-Mobile does not plan to gear its entire lineup toward to the low end of the market though, and will still offer high-end devices. However, the company has struggled to attract postpaid subscribers. T-Mobile lost 60,000 postpaid subscribers in the third quarter, an improvement from 140,000 net postpaid losses in the year-ago period but a sharp drop from 106,000 net postpaid additions in the second quarter.
The battle over network technology supremacy is reaching new heights, with both Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) and T-Mobile USA trading claims over the performance of their next-generation networks.
Verizon Communications CTO Tony Melone dismissed T-Mobile’s claims that its upgraded HSPA+ network will offer service comparable to Verizon’s LTE network.
In an interview with CNet, Melone said HSPA+ provides incremental improvements via software and hardware upgrades and said it is possible to squeeze more performance out of HSPA+ technology. “So I am sure they are pushing the envelope on what can be done with HSPA+, but it doesn’t match what LTE is capable of,” he said. “The real difference in the technologies is when you look at what happens on the edge of the cell network, where the signal is weaker and speeds decrease. We’ve stated that average speeds on our network are 5 Mbps to 12 Mbps for downloads. And on the cell edge people are getting 1 Mbps to 3 Mbps on average. For HSPA, I’d say that the download would be a quarter of that or less. Folks who understand these technologies would have a hard time arguing with that.”
The verbal back-and-forth between carriers over network performance is nothing new, but has taken on a new twist now that both AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) and T-Mobile claim HSPA+ is a “4G” technology.
Last week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, T-Mobile said at some point this year it plans to launch HSPA+ 42 technology, which provides theoretical peak speeds of 42 Mbps and represents a doubling of the speeds provided by the carrier’s current HSPA+ 21 network. T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray said that HSPA+ 42 will provide speeds that are comparable to Verizon’s LTE network. “There’s very little difference,” he said, adding that T-Mobile has been testing T-Mobile’s planned HSPA+ 42 upgrade against Verizon’s LTE network in Las Vegas and that both networks provided average download speeds of around 8 Mbps.
Melone added that he thinks the only reason T-Mobile is continually pushing the limits on HSPA+ technology is because the company lacks the spectrum to move to LTE. “So they are using HSPA+ to transition,” he said. “I’d do the same thing if I were them.”
Slightly more than a third of all U.S. subscribers used a downloaded mobile application in November 2010–up 1.1 percentage points over the previous three-month period–according to digital research firm comScore. In addition, 67.1 percent of subscribers used text messaging services in November, up 0.5 percentage points, and 23.5 percent accessed social networks or blogs, a 1.0 percentage point increase. comScore adds that mobile gaming attracted 22.6 percent of the U.S. wireless audience, and 15.0 percent tuned in to mobile music services.
According to comScore, about 61.5 million U.S. subscribers own smartphones as of November, up 10 percent over the preceding three-month period and a figure certain to increase even more significantly following the recent holiday season. Research In Motion’s (NASDAQ:RIMM) BlackBerry operating system continues to lead the U.S. market at 33.5 percent of subscribers, but its dominance is shrinking rapidly, decreasing 4.1 percentage points over the previous three months. Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android is now in second overall at 26.0 percent market share (a 6.4 percentage points leap), edging past Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS at 25.0 percent (up 0.8 percentage points). Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone fell further off the pace in November, sliding 1.8 percentage points to capture 9.0 percent of the U.S. smartphone market.
T-Mobile USA is discontinuing its HotSpot@Home phone program. No more free, unlimited VOIP calls via Wi-Fi at home anymore, at least not through T-Mobile. Skype, anyone?
The program has been in place for two years, but apparently never hit it big. Current HotSpot@Home members can continue to use their subscriptions until they run out, and T-Mobile will continue to support phone calls via Wi-Fi in public hotspots.
Other than that, it doesn’t look like T-Mobile will be releasing a replacement to this service anytime soon.
Subscriptions were between $10 to $15 per month for unlimited calling for phones plugged into a broadband-connected adapter. But when Skype has monthly subscriptions starting at $2.95 that you can use from the ease of any compatible computer or smartphone, the HotSpot@Home program just doesn’t seem worth it.
Any T-Mobile users out there distraught over this?
RealtyGo currently is designing new Social VOIP Software for future Smartphone operating systems.
T-Mobile USA announced it will sell the Android-powered G-Slate tablet, built by LG, “in coming months.”
The companies provided little in the way of details. The G-Slate will run the “Honeycomb” version of Android 3.0, which is designed for tablet-style gadgets, and will support T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network, which the carrier has branded as 4G. The companies did not release specifications, pricing or a launch date.
The announcement of the G-Slate came mere minutes after Motorola Mobility (NYSE:MMI) unveiled its own Honeycomb-powered tablet, the Xoom for Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ)–a possible move by T-Mobile and LG to lessen the splash of Motorola’s announcement here at the Consumer Electronics Show.
The G-Slate represents a further evolution of both T-Mobile USA and LG’s respective strategies. T-Mobile has been working to broaden and deepen its lineup of high-end devices, and currently sells the Samsung GalaxyTab tablet and the HSPA+-powered G2 and myTouch 4G smartphones. All of the gadgets run Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android platform.
For LG, the G-Slate brings to a close the company’s troubled tablet journey. LG announced in July its intention to offer an Android tablet in the fourth quarter of 2010. However, in October the company said it scrapped plans to offer an Android 2.2 tablet, arguing Android 2.2, dubbed Froyo, isn’t suitable for tablet-sized devices.
….and our Mobile Real Estate software and services will run on any tablet and Smartphone Operating System.